In this post I interview Richard Elwes, author of a number of maths books in recent years. He has kindly agreed to give away signed copies his two most recent, Mathematics in 100 Key Breakthroughs and Chaotic Fishponds and Mirror Universes. For a chance to win all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter, see the right sidebar or the bottom of this post. I’ll get my daughter to randomly pick two winners from the list of subscribers in a couple of weeks. On with the interview… Hello Richard! I think we first met when you were a PhD student here at Leeds. Can you give a quick account of your background to help people get a feel for where you are coming from? I initially followed a conventional academic path: I studied maths as an undergraduate at Oxford, and then moved north to Leeds to start a PhD in 2001, where I met you among other excellent people. My research at that stage was in the general field of mathematical logic. Afterwards I held a postdoctoral position in Freiburg in Germany, and at some point after that I somehow found my way into writing about maths for the general public. Apart from books, I’ve written for the New Scientist, and for the excellent Plus magazine online. In fact I got my first break there, when I won their New Writers’ competition in 2006, with an article about the classification of finite simple groups (http://plus.maths.org/content/os/issue41/features/elwes/index). Your book Maths in 100 Key Breakthroughs came out last month. What’s it about? Who is it aimed at? It’s aimed at anyone who finds the idea of maths interesting and appealing, but who doesn’t want to drown in equations and jargon. So it’s written with...